If you want to stay clean and give this sobriety thing your best shot, you need a sponsor –every step of the way.
Selecting your very first sponsor can be a frightening experience. Many recovering alcoholics and addicts are fearful of placing their confidence in someone and building a new relationship with them –especially one of this magnitude. After spending years in the seedy underworld of drugs and alcohol, trusting a stranger may not seem like a good idea at first. You might wonder, what if this relationship becomes yet another disappointment I have to overcome? This is a rational fear, sure, but you need to know going in that sponsorship is an integral part of sobriety. You can’t do this alone.
Understanding what a sponsor is –and isn’t –can make the process of finding and trusting a sponsor a lot less painful. Sure, putting your faith in someone you hardly know is risky business. But, let’s be honest…..you put your trust in all sorts of unsavory characters when you were in your addiction to get your next fix. You hung out with less than honorable people when you frequented the bar. Why not try believing in someone who might actually help you?
There are a few things to keep in mind in regards to the sponsee/sponsor relationship:
- A sponsor is someone who teaches you about the 12 steps of recovery; a man or woman who practices the steps in their daily lives.
- A sponsor shows you how to live clean, one day at a time.
- A sponsor provides you with the support you need to carry on one more day without drinking or using.
- A sponsor is someone who has already worked the 12 steps, someone who serves as living proof that recovery is not only possible but that it can be fun.
- A sponsor is someone who will be there for you when times get tough. When you feel like picking up a drink or getting high, you can call your sponsor to talk some sense into you.
- A sponsor is someone you can share your darkest secrets with, someone you can seek counsel from without worrying about whether or not they will judge you.
- A sponsor is a friend who will walk beside you along the path toward freedom from the bondage of addiction or alcoholism.
- A sponsor is not a bank. He or she is not there to loan you money or help you with your financial situation.
- A sponsor is not a marriage or relationship counselor. Although he or she may help guide you through relationship difficulties without relapsing, they are not there to fix your love life.
- A sponsor is not your boyfriend or girlfriend. Men should sponsor men and women should sponsor women.
- A sponsor is not at your beck and call. It is important to develop other recovery relationships in case you call upon your sponsor and he or she is not available.
- A sponsor is not your Higher Power. Too many recovery people make the mistake of putting this person on a pedestal. Remember, your sponsor is in recovery too and is capable of a relapse, just like you. Always remember that this person is human (just like you) and can make mistakes (just like you).
You need a sponsor. The guidelines provided in this article are intended to serve as a checklist when addressing this very important recovery relationship. If you don’t have one yet, get one. If the sponsor you have isn’t a good fit for you, find another one. Don’t be scared. If you are, just change around a few letters and you’ll see that sponsorship is actually sacred!